Birkenstock Is Taking A Last Stand For Brand Control In The Age Of Amazon

by MR Magazine Staff

Birkenstock is becoming the face of the Amazon resistance. The German sandal brand, whose contoured, cork-cored footbeds have attracted generations of customers, has become maybe the biggest and loudest critic of the e-commerce steamroller. Last year, Birkenstock USA decided to pull all its products from Amazon, saying the large number of counterfeit Birkenstocks on the site were hurting its brand. Now David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock USA, is attacking an Amazon program that involves the company buying products from third-party retailers at full price and reselling them itself, apparently with or without the consent of the brands whose products are involved. “Pathetic” is how Kahan described the program in a letter to Birkenstock’s retail partners last week obtained by the Washington Post. “Amazon can’t get Birkenstock by legitimate means so why not dangle a carrot in front of retailers who can make a quick buck,” Kahan wrote. Evidently, among the retailers Amazon contacted were those selling Birkenstock footwear. In a July 25 interview with the Post, Kahan went on to call the practice “modern-day piracy” and “a middle finger to all brands, not just Birkenstock.” Read more at Quartz.